Beware fanning flames of racism over ‘silent invasion’ fears

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Today there are an estimated 1.2 million people living in Australia who have Chinese ancestry (of which I am one). Tim Soutphommasane Brisbane Times Many would agree that old prejudices against Chinese have largely given way to general acceptance of Chinese-Australians. Yet, ongoing debates make clear there is growing discomfort about the Chinese presence in Australia. In his recently published book Silent Invasion, Clive Hamilton argues the People’s Republic of China is conducting a campaign designed to erode Australian sovereignty ... Read More »

From bacteria to Bach, the origins of culture

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Antonio Damasio, director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, is one of the… Nathan Gardels The Washington Post WorldPost: I first heard your name when the cellist YoYo Ma told me about your book “Descartes’ Error,” which he said helped answer some key questions he had about how virtuosity and creativity come about in music — not by reason alone but through the… Antonio Damasio: When I think of “Descartes’ Error” today, almost 25 years ... Read More »

Antisemitism: how the origins of history’s oldest hatred still hold sway today

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Antisemitism is on the march. From the far-right demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, with their “Blood and Soil” chants and their “Jews will not replace us” placards to attacks on synagogues in Sweden, arson attacks on kosher restaurants in France and a spike in hate crimes against Jews in the UK. Gervase Phillips The Conversation Antisemitism seems to have been given a new lease of life. The seemingly endless conflicts in the Middle East have made the problem worse as they ... Read More »

NGV drops Wilson Security

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The National Gallery of Victoria has today indicated that Wilson Security will no longer provide security services at the state institution. Image: Artists’ Committee, Break the Silence (2017), intervention with cello. Photo: Lara Chamas Wilson Security is well known for its serious and extensive record of human rights abuses against children, women and men held in offshore immigration detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru. Because of this link with the detention industry, the NGV’s relationship with Wilson Security has been the ... Read More »

German court backs city bans on diesel cars

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A top German court ruled on Feb. 27 in favor of allowing major cities to ban the most heavily polluting diesel cars, a move set to hit the value of 12 million vehicles in Europe’s largest car market and probably force carmakers to pay for costly modifications. LEIPZIG – Reuters Hurriyet There has been a global backlash against diesel-engine cars since Volkswagen admitted in 2015 to cheating U.S. exhaust tests, meant to limit emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxide ... Read More »

What today’s anti-immigrant populists could learn from Homer about kindness to strangers

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Troy, a new BBC adaptation of Homer’s Iliad, shows the enduring interest we have in Ancient Greek myths. Aleardo Zanghellini The Conversation Today, Homer’s epic works remain both politically and ethically relevant. The Greek poet’s insight into why law and legality matter is particularly enlightening in the context of contemporary debates about immigration, which loom large amid the rise of right-wing populism on both sides of the Atlantic. Those who object to immigration and demonise immigrants argue that the West’s ... Read More »

Anger mounts as Israel begins detention and deportation of African asylum seekers

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Around 20,000 Israelis and African migrants took to the streets in Tel Aviv on February 24, protesting against a government policy of detaining and deporting African asylum seekers who refuse to leave the country. Tanja R. Müller The Conversation A few days earlier, a group of Eritrean asylum seekers held at a detention centre in Israel went on hunger strike in protest against their imminent expulsion from the country. In early Feburary, Israel began issuing expulsion orders to African migrants ... Read More »

The Kashmir villagers fleeing bullets from two nations

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Mohammad Yaqoob, 50, barely escaped the bullets that landed inside his house in a village along the border in Indian-administered Kashmir. BBC Mr Yaqoob and his family are among the hundreds of villagers who have fled their homes since India and Pakistan began exchanging heavy gunfire on 22 February, in what is being reported as an “escalation” of hostilities between the two countries. Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in its entirety but only control parts of it – the ... Read More »

Five reasons why being kind makes you feel good – according to science

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Everybody can appreciate acts of kindness. But when it comes to explaining why we do them, people often take one of two extreme positions. Jo Cutler Robin Banerjee The Conversation Some think kindness is something completely selfless that we do out of love and care, while others believe it is just a tool that we cunningly use to become more popular and reap the… But research shows that being kind to others can actually make us genuinely happy in a ... Read More »

Land expropriation motion amendment passed

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A National Assembly resolution allowing land expropriation without compensation will now be referred to the Constitutional Review Committee which must report back to Parliament by August 30. Abongile Dumako SABC The National Assembly on Tuesday passed the African National Congress’ (ANC) amendment to the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) motion for land expropriation without compensation. The ANC’s amendment, which was accepted by the House, inserts a clause about improving food security. The motion passed by 241 votes to 63, with the ... Read More »

High-strength cannabis now dominates illegal market, study finds

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Samples showed huge rise in highly psychoactive strains, raising public health concerns Damien Gayle The Guardian Almost all cannabis seized by police now comprises high-strength varieties, with outdoor-grown herbal strains and hashish barely found, according to a new analysis. In the first study of its kind for 10 years, researchers from GW Pharmaceuticals, which makes medicines derived from cannabis, and King’s College London found 94% of samples seized by police were varieties with a high psychoactive content, suggesting they dominate the illicit ... Read More »

How Europe’s Band-Aid Ensures Greece’s Bondage

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All the happy talk about impending “debt relief” and a “clean exit” from Greece’s third “bailout” obscures an uglier truth: the country’s debt bondage is being extended to 2060. Yanis Varoufakis Project Syndicate Worse, by ossifying Greece’s insolvency, while pretending to have overcome it, Europe’s establishment is demonstrating its refusal to fix the eurozone’s flaws. ATHENS – Greece’s never-ending public-debt saga has come to signify the European Union’s inept handling of its inevitable eurozone crisis. Eight years after its bankruptcy, ... Read More »

Monica Lewinsky: Emerging from “The House of Gaslight” in the age of #MeToo

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On the 20th anniversary of the Starr investigation, which introduced her to the world, the author reflects on the changing nature of trauma, the de-evolution of the media, and the extraordinary hope now provided by the #MeToo movement. BY MONICA LEWINSKY Vanity Fair How do I know him? Where have I seen him? The Man in the Hat looked familiar, I thought, as I peered over at him a second time. It was Christmas Eve 2017. My family and I were about to ... Read More »

Paul Keating says Australia’s sycophancy to US damaging its own interests

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Former Labor prime minister says there should be greater independence within alliance and South China Sea ‘is not our fight’ Ben Doherty Guardian Australia’s “client state” obsequiousness towards the US was damaging its own interests and ignoring the rise of China as the nascent “primary economic state of the world”, Paul Keating has argued. Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, the former Labor prime minister said the alliance with the US did not mandate slavish devotion to American demands “as the ... Read More »

Tony Abbott’s economic argument against immigration is flawed

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Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Sydney in 1979. Jessica Irvine The Canberra Times But having since derided the dismal science as “boring”, it appears he may have snoozed off at a crucial point in his lectures. In a speech to the Sydney Institute last Tuesday, Abbott explained his logic behind his call for a reduction in Australia’s annual rate of immigration from 190,000 to 110,000 a year. “My issue ... Read More »

‘I see death’: Christian asylum seekers fear return to Egypt

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Two young asylum seekers fear for their lives if they are deported to their native Egypt when their visas expire within weeks. Carolyn Webb The Sydney Morning Herald  The cousins, along with eight other Coptic Christian asylum seekers in Melbourne, are appealing directly to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton to show mercy and let them stay. Michael Ramzy, 31, was bashed and his mobile phone shop gutted in an attack by Muslim extremists in the village of Al Gharizat, 500km south ... Read More »